Friendship, Care and Dedication: Five nurses share experiences of working together for over 30 years In the field of nursing it’s common for
Meet Horizon’s Disability Management team and learn how they support employees with injury or illness
patient and their family.” Rita said she chose to be a nurse because three of her friends were going into nursing. “It turned out to be the best decision of my life,” she said. “I love my job as a nurse and teacher and I love taking care of people. Kindness, caring, empathy and compassion are part of who we are.” They share their wisdom and depend on each other’s knowledge every day and through it all continue to put their patients’ health and
well-being first and strive to make them feel comfortable, regardless of the injury or illness. Carol Mason noted that there are two things she loves most about her job: “The people I work with (and the way we work together and support each other) and knowing that I made a difference for someone when I go home at the end of my shift.” “We are very fortunate to have worked together for so long,” said Michele, “and we are proud to be St. Joseph’s Hospital Urgent Care nurses!”
Disability management is an intentional and coordinated effort to mitigate the direct and indirect impacts of disability on employees, their families and their employers. Horizon’s Disability Management (DM) team provides support and resources for staff who are ill or injured at work or outside of work, and who require accommodation support. “When injury or illness occurs, our team provides absence and disability management programming to assist with the overall health of employees,” said Michèle Rankin, Horizon’s Regional Disability Manager. “We are here to educate, empower and support all employees to successfully navigate their journey from illness or injury, to wellness.” Occupational and non-occupational injury / illness Occupational injury / illness is a physical or psychological illness or injury that arises over the course of employment. A non-occupational injury / illness is a physical or psychological illness, injury or personal medical condition unrelated to work. Disability Management focuses on absences from work as a result of both occupational and non-occupational illness or injury, and on the prevention of risks that cause these absences through accommodation, prevention, and support for recovery. Research shows early intervention helps prevent long-term disability. That is why Horizon is committed to assisting its ill and injured employees to recover by providing options to support on-the-job rehabilitation and provide safe, gradual return-to-work programs, like the Direct Referrals to Physiotherapy Program available through a partnership between Horizon, WorkSafeNB and local physiotherapy clinics. When an occupational injury or illness occurs, Horizon’s Disability Management staff manage all reported work-related incidents. Information is reviewed, and documentation is submitted to WorkSafeNB for injury or illness claims in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and WorkSafeNB policies. Short term absences due to non-occupational injury or illness are most often managed at the departmental level. When these absences grow in duration or complexity, DM is often contacted to provide support for both the employee and manager with absence management options, recover-at-work programs, and safe gradual return-to-work programs and accommodations. Duty to Accommodate Employers have a duty to accommodate. They are required by law to make every reasonable effort to accommodate an injured or ill employee. However, they are not required
Registered Nurses (RNs) to work in several different settings throughout their careers — there are often changes in positions, department and facilities. So, it is very special and rare to have five RNs that have been nursing together at one Horizon facility, in one department, for over 30 years! Carol Mason, Jackie Belyea, Carole Calnan, Rita Brown, and Michele Perkins-Stephen have been RNs at Horizon’s St. Joseph’s Hospital (St. Joe’s) Urgent Care Centre (formerly an Emergency Department) since the 1980s. This team of frontline heroes has worked together through many changes over the past three decades – most notably, the transition of their facility from a 24-hour fully-active Emergency Department (ED) to an Urgent Care Centre in the early 2000s. When they first began nursing at St. Joe’s, medical emergencies would arrive by ambulance to their ED. “Patients would come 24 hours a day to get the emergency care they needed and could be admitted to other units within the hospital,” said Michele. “That changed when the Emergency Department became the Urgent Care Centre (to avoid duplication of services with the newly built Saint John Regional Hospital).” It was a big adjustment for the team, Michele said, “but we adapted! Although our role changed, our commitment to our patients over the past 30+ years, and our desire to make a difference, has remained the same.” Gabrielle Smith, Nurse Manager, explained that like an ED, there are no “typical days” at the Urgent Care Centre — every day is unpredictable. Upon arrival, patients are assessed by an RN and given a triage number. Diagnostic procedures and medical treatments vary depending on the patient. Every patient’s needs are unique, and so are these five nurses. What makes them unique is not just their ability to adapt to this ever-changing environment, but their teamwork and friendship. “We have shared good times and bad, busy days and quiet days,” said Jackie. “My co- workers always have my back and coming to work is like coming to my second home. St. Joe’s is the best!” When asked what her favourite thing about working at St. Joe’s Urgent Care Centre is, Carole Calnan said: “the collaboration of care as a team, focusing on the well-being of the
From left: Robin Savoie, Disability Clerk; Michèle Rankin, Regional Disability Manager; and Brigitte Carter, Senior Disability Coordinator, Saint John Area, at Horizon’s Saint John Regional Hospital.
Graphic from: Government of Canada
to offer accommodations if it causes them “undue hardship,” taking into account factors such as financial costs, service disruption, health and safety concerns, and collective agreements. Although the employer has the primary responsibility to accommodate since the employer has control of the workplace, everyone has a role to play including the union and the employee: Employer: • Ensure employees are aware of their right to accommodation • Be informed on the employer’s legislated duty to accommodate and be able to review this with employees • Explore accommodation to the point of undue hardship and be willing to revisit and modify these as needs change • Demonstrate equal treatment of employees and respect employee confidentiality • Manage simple and straightforward accommodation requests independently • Consult with Human Resources or Disability Management on any questions that arise or to request assistance with more complex cases Employee: • Take preventative measures to ensure personal safety and wellness • Request accommodations when needed and suggest appropriate measures when possible • Provide medical documentation to support limitations and restrictions Union: • Provide employees with accommodation advice and guidance • Support accommodation measures regardless of the collective agreement, unless to do so would impose undue hardship The DM team offers guidance, tools and expertise to support employees and managers through successful recover-at-work, return-to- work and workplace accommodation plans by exploring a number of different options, such as modified duties, alternate work, and more. The DM team has resources available to provide assistance in each major facility across Horizon.
From left: April Leet, Junior Disability Coordinator, Fredericton/URV &Moncton reas and Jaime Maynard, Senior Disability Coordinator, Moncton Area, at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital.
Carol Mason, Jackie Belyea, Carole, Calnan, Rita Brown and Michele Perkins-Stephen have worked together as Registered Nurses and friends at St. Joseph’s Hospital Urgent Care Centre for over 30 years.
From left: Lacey Melanson, Disability Clerk and Kim Currie, Senior Disability Coordinator, Fredericton & URV Area, at Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.
Lisa Connors, Junior Disability Coordinator, Miramichi & Saint John Areas at Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital.
KimberlyWilliston, Senior Disability Coordinator, Miramichi Area at Horizon’s Miramichi Regional Hospital.
Front to back: Rita Brown, Michel Perkins-Stephen, Jackie Belyea, Carole Calnan and Carol Mason.
Want to tell your colleagues about the services you provide for patients and staff throughout Horizon? Email HorizonStar@HorizonNB.ca .
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